In Maryland, some criminal records can be expunged and some cannot. Expungement essentially means that your criminal record is deleted or erased from court records and law enforcement records. Defendants often seek to have their records expunged so any convictions, arrests, or other resolution of the criminal charges in their case cannot be used against them.
In addition to seeking expungements to clear a defendant’s name and protect them if new charges based on new crimes are ever filed, defendants often seek expungements because criminal offenses have collateral consequences in addition to prison time and the requirement to pay fines.
- A criminal record can make it difficult to find employment.
- Some landlords won’t rent to people with a criminal record.
- Obtaining a loan may be difficult.
- A conviction may jeopardize your ability to obtain a professional license.
Expungement is different than “shielding.” Maryland does allow some convictions to be shielded. The difference between expungement and shielding is that expungement means nobody (including the courts and law enforcement) can see your criminal record. Shielding means that your records are shielded from public searches – so that employers, landlords, and other members of the public can’t see your criminal record – but the Maryland courts and law enforcement agencies will still be able to see your record.
Expungement eligibility for criminal charges in Maryland
Your ability to seek an expungement for certain crimes depends on the time that has elapsed since a conviction and whether the type of offense is eligible for an expungement. Certain misdemeanors may be eligible for expungement five years after your conviction. Certain felonies may be eligible for expungement after seven years. Other types of felonies may be eligible for expungement after 10 years. Some domestic relations offenses may be eligible for expungement after 15 years.
- Unless all the charges in your case can be expunged. Generally, minor traffic charges should not affect your eligibility.
- You are a defendant in a current criminal case, including traffic violations which could result in jail time.
- You received a Probation Before Judgment and within three years from that date, you were convicted of a new offense, and the new offense is not eligible for expungement
- Your case involves only minor traffic charges. The Maryland courts don’t have the authority to expunge minor traffic charges. The MVA can expunge minor traffic offenses.
- “Civil cases, including child support, liens, judgments, peace orders, and protective orders CANNOT be expunged.”
The court can deny an expungement request if outstanding restitution is due.
Eligibility for expungement for DUI/DWI charges in Maryland
You cannot seek to expunge a DUI or a DWI if you were convicted. However, there is some good news:
- Generally, your insurance company will not be able to see or use any points that are assessed after three years from the date of the violation.
- You could be eligible for a probation before judgment, which means the charge won’t be reflected on your driving record.
- If your license is revoked, we can help your restore your driving privileges if you meet the MVA requirements.
Shielding eligibility for certain traffic violations
In Maryland, you can petition the court, with our help, to shield some types of convictions if:
- It’s been at least three years
- You’re not a defendant in a pending criminal case
- The charge did not involve domestic violence
You can only use the shielding process once in your lifetime in Maryland.
Some of the charges that can be shielded include:
- Driving without a license
- Driving while your driving privileges were canceled, suspended, refused, or revoked
- Driving while uninsured
Generally, employers cannot require you to disclose shielded information in an application or interview. If your employer finds out independently of asking you about a prior offense, they could hold your conviction against you – though they should not find out about it through a background check because your conviction should no longer be public record.
At Carey Law Office, our respected criminal defense lawyer has helped many defendants obtain dismissals and acquittals of DUI and DWI charges. We’ll explain the requirements for obtaining an expungement of any DUI or DWI charges after a dismissal or not guilty verdict. We also fight aggressively to keep your freedom, your driving privileges, and your reputation if you are charged with any type of drunk driving offense in Maryland. To discuss your rights, call us or contact us now to schedule a consultation
We represent defendants in and around Bowie, Crofton, Dunkirk, and Owings.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More